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[...] the TSA rubrics identify core technical skills measured across each program on a system-wide basis, according to Neill. According to a graduate follow-up study that surveyed 2008 WTCS graduates, 91 percent of the 13,104 respondents were employed.
PREPARiNG THE NEW WORKFORCE Assessing students’ te Skill AttAinm BY HALEy JORGENSEN T he Wisconsin Technical within the 16 Wisconsin Technical Col- will only use third-party, vendor-related College System (WTCS) is leges, according to Annette Severson, student assessments, such as exams. We working to comply with the WTCS associate vice president, Office think that relying solely on vendor exams Carl D. Perkins Career and of Instruction. Those direct measures, misses the mark because some programs Technical Education Improvement Act of which provide evidence that students have 2006 (Perkins) to ensure that its graduates achieved intended outcomes or skills, may have mastered the technical skills needed include third-party exams, performances, by business and industry. Perkins 2006 portfolios, rubrics, capstone projects, legislation requires that each state identify internship evaluations, and clinical and approve program assessment strate- evaluations, among others. gies used by any Perkins-funded postsec- “I think every state has a unique ondary institution. Additionally, the Act way of complying with Perkins,” requires that those assessment strategies Severson says. “Some states measure the degree to which program graduates have mastered industry-validat- ed technical skills. As an eligible recipient of Perkins funding, WTCS will comply with the Act by using direct measures of technical skill attainment for program graduates 30 T e ch n iqu es MAY 2010 www.acteonline.org echnicAl the new TSAs ensure that program out- also a plus, she maintains. “Collaboration ment comes derive directly from valid industry is valuable because instructors from mul- standards. WTCS TSA program out- tiple colleges share ideas, strengthen their comes, according to Severson, are derived network and have the opportunity to cre- from and linked to valid industry and/ ate and apply new assessment strategies,” or academic standards; derived from and she says. “Some of the colleges already linked to a current DACUM occupational have program outcomes, so the TSA as- analysis; and/or reviewed by industry sessment development process gives them representatives. another opportunity to examine and re- fresh those outcomes with help from other Faculty Representatives Collaborate instructors and advisory boards.” in TSA Rubric Development WTCS already has a great technical Already, several TSA assessments have education track record, adds Severson. been developed for WTCS programs, According to a grad
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